Are spending plans rally in line with our national priorities?
When the only thing in your toolbox is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.
For the Republicans, that nail has traditionally been tax cuts. Now that the Democrats have the majority, the nail looks like spending.
Both approaches have the disadvantage of draining the national coffers and running up the national debt.
Both claim to be able to stimulate the economy, a la Reagonomics for the GOP or Keynesian economics for the Dems.
The Democrats cite studies that show each dollar in government spending generates more than a dollar in economic activity, while tax cuts generate less than a dollar in results. On the other hand, if time is of the essence, tax cuts put more dollars in the hands of consumers more quickly.
But, as the Democrats are quick to point out, they won the presidential election, and as the partisan House vote proved, they're in charge of the stimulus package.
Will the money, essentially put on a maxed-out national credit card, be well spent?
Here is some of the projects it will fund:
$44 million for repairs at the Agriculture Department headquarters in Washington.
$200 million to rehabilitate the National Mall.
$360 million for new child care centers at military bases.
$1.8 billion to repair National Park Service facilities.
$276 million to update technology at the State Department.
$500 million for the Transportation Security Administration to install bomb detectors at airports.
$600 million for General Services Administration to replace older vehicles with alternative fuel vehicles.
$2.5 billion to upgrade low-income housing.
$400 million for NASA scientists to conduct climate change research.
$426 million to construct facilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
$800 million to clean up Superfund sites.
$150 million for the Coast Guard to repair or remove bridges deemed a hazard to navigation.
$6.7 billion to renovate and improve energy efficiency at federal buildings.
$400 million to replace the Social Security Administration's 30-year-old National Computer Center.
Are those really our national priorities? Will the spending really help stimulate our economy?
We are about to find out.
Or, perhaps Senate Republicans can come up with a plan that includes more of the economic tools they traditionally favor. It may all be settled during the Super Bowl, when some Senators from both parties have been invited over to watch the game at the White House.
If you would like to read details of the stimulus package passed by the House, you can do so here:
If you would like to see where the money is going, you can do so here:
But the site will only work AFTER the package is passed.